New Hampshire

NH Restaurant Closes Over Mask Mandate: ‘What Happened to Live Free or Die?'

Roselynn Homemade Ice Cream Breakfast and Lunch in Epping has decided to close its doors rather than enforce the Granite State's COVID-19 guidance

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A restaurant in New Hampshire has decided to close its doors rather than enforce the state's mask mandate.

Roselynn Homemade Ice Cream Breakfast and Lunch in Epping closed on Sunday until further notice after owners Joe Bodge and Dorene Heselton said a customer reported them to the state Attorney General's Office due to people not wearing masks.

"I straight-up said to her, 'You are absolutely correct, everybody knows -- that walks in this place, we don't wear masks," Bodge told state officials.

Instead of having their license taken away, Bodge, Heselton and their employees decided to shut down and put a sign up outside that reads, "What Happened to Live Free or Die."

"We beat them to the punch," Heselton said. "Bottom line is our customers should have the right to decide if they feel safe coming here with us not wearing masks, or they don't, and that's what's being taken away from them."

Bodge and Heselton opened the establishment about ten years ago.

They switched to takeout only during the height of the pandemic and reopened indoor dining as soon as the state allowed.

"Most people walk in and they see no one is wearing masks, and say, 'Oh, thank God,' and they tear their mask off," Bodge said. "This has given them a sense of normalcy."

The restaurant is entirely family run and they all believe that the mask restrictions are a government overreach.

"This is not a virus thing, this is a control thing," Heselton said.

That statement prompted an applause from the crowd of people who showed up Wednesday to show their support.

"You can't find better people than Joe and Doreen. You can't," said customer Shirleen Roberston.

Customers say they're disappointed their favorite spot is closed, but proud of the reason why.

"We have a right. We live in New Hampshire," said another loyal customer. "You know, 'live free or die.'"

Bodge and Heselton said they will be dipping into their savings while the restaurant is closed, but they say making this statement is worth it.

"Everyone has a right to an opinion," Bodge said. "I own the place and I'm not afraid to show my opinion."

Meanwhile, Roselynn's is still open for takeout ice cream.

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